UPDATE: Hinds County DA calls Jackson murder suspect's release " - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

UPDATE: Hinds County DA calls Jackson murder suspect's release "unconstitutional"

Nicholas Coats Source: JPD Nicholas Coats Source: JPD
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A Jackson murder suspect -- deemed a danger to the community -- has been released because he was never indicted by a grand jury, a move the district attorney calls "unconstitutional."

Police initially charged 21-year-old Nicholas Coats with killing 23-year-old Chelsie Lynn Kirschten on August 17, 2017.

RELATED: Woman shot to death at traffic light on Fortification Street

Kirschten was shot and killed during an attempted robbery on Fortification Street.

In October, after the case had been transferred to Hinds County Court, a judge ordered Coats to await the action of the grand jury, denying bail in part, because “the release of the defendant would constitute a special danger to another person and/or the community.”

Hinds County District Attorney’s office had until January 2, 2018, to get a grand jury to indict Coats or he would be released from custody for “lack of prosecution," according to the court document.

Jail records indicate Coats was released from the Raymond Detention Center, though an exact date was not given.

Hinds County DA Robert Shuler Smith said one reason for the delay in the Coats case stemmed from a JPD issue.

"The lead detective [on the case] has recently returned from suspension over a personnel matter," Smith said. "Our office needs to meet with the detective to determine if these issues have been resolved and discuss going forward. We certainly need his testimony."

It's unclear when the DA's office will be able to move forward with Coats' indictment.

Smith said his office objects to the practice of setting deadlines for indictments.

"In these cases, they should not summarily dismiss someone or let them out of jail," Smith said.

Though some media reports imply state statute requires a defendant to be indicted within 90 days of an arrest, that's not true, according to Mississippi College School of Law Professor Matt Steffey.

A 3 On Your Side investigation revealed the confusion may stem from a passage in the Mississippi Rules of Criminal Procedure, which requires the senior circuit judge in each district to review the conditions of release for every felony defendant who is eligible for bail and has been in jail for more than 90 days.

The other murder suspect in the case, 19-year-old Ladarious Dixon, remains incarcerated in the Raymond Detention Center, still waiting on an indictment from a Hinds County grand jury.

READ MORE: Two arrested, charged in deadly Fortification Street red light shooting

Unlike Coats, there is no deadline imposed for an indictment in Dixon's case.

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